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  • Jesus Santrich was a key negotiator during the talks between FARC and the Colombian goverment that led to the 2016 peace deal.

    Jesus Santrich was a key negotiator during the talks between FARC and the Colombian goverment that led to the 2016 peace deal. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 June 2019

According to party sources, Santrich will assume his position on Tuesday. 

The Commission of Accreditation of the House of Representatives of Colombia authorized on Monday the former leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) Seuxis Paucias Hernandez Solarte, known as "Jesus Santrich", to swear in and take his seat in the Colombian Congress.

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Three of the five congressmen that make up the collegiate body accepted Santrich’s accreditations and determined that from this day on he can occupy his seat in the Lower Chamber as representative of the Revolutionary Alternative Force of the Commons (FARC) party. According to party sources, Santrich will assume his position on Tuesday. 

The other two legislators who opposed, arguing “conscientious objection”, belong to the  Conservative and the ruling Democratic Center parties. Colombian President Ivan Duque also weighed in on the issue requesting, on Monday from Argentina, for the Attorney General to suspend Santrich from that position.

In a public statement Santrich expressed his “gratitude to the Free Santrich campaign for their defense of the principles of the party and the revolutionary cause,” adding that a special thanks to “my friend and comrade, Benedicto Gonzalez, for how he has carried this flag for the defense of the party, raising his voice in the streets and defending the poorest of society, whom we owe ourselves to.”

Gonzalez will step down after saving the position for Santrich and being informed today by House of Representatives that the “exercise of his congressional status has ended."

Santrich had been unable to take his seat in the Lower Chamber, as he was arrested in Bogota on April 9, 2018, following an extradition request from the United States Department of Justice for alleged drug trafficking. 

The former FARC commander and his party have maintained that no such crime was committed and that he has congressional immunity and could not be prosecuted under normal courts. On May 29, the Colombian Supreme Court ordered the release after the decision of the Council of State to ratify the investiture of the congressman.

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